Educational technology is an important part of the 21st century education of our children, but it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, especially in times of fiercely competing priorities in our schools. Ed tech has often been a separate silo with its own staff members, budget categories, and professional development initiatives. How can we break down those silos?
The Northwest Council of Computer Education (NCCE) is addressing this by expanding the conversation at their 2013 conference in Portland, Oregon.
For the first time, NCCE will offer pre-conference summits for school leadership teams, curriculum directors, and teachers who are not currently using technology for their own professional learning. The Make Your Future Summits at the conference in 2013 will include the Leadership Summit facilitated by George Couros, the Common Core Summit facilitated by Bud Hunt, the PLN Teacher Boot Camp facilitated by Jason Neiffer and Mike Agostinelli, and the previously offered Teacher-Librarian and IT Summits.
Through these summits, school teams will spend an entire day focused on exploration, reflection, and hands-on planning on the issues that are most important to them as educators.
The PLN Teacher Boot Camp is also a response to the USDOE’s recent Connected Educator Month. During that month, educators celebrated the value they get online collaboration with other teachers, but also realized that many teachers are not “connected” in this way. NCCE is reaching out to those teachers by providing a day-long, low-cost summit that will provide them with new professional collaboration tools and connections to a supportive community.
The 42nd NCCE conference will serve over 1,700 teachers, administrators and other school and district personnel from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming the week of February 26- March 1, 2013.
For more information about the 2013 NCCE conference and other professional development events, visit www.ncce.org.
We hope you can join us.
Karen - This conference sounds like a fabulous experience for educators. I like the title:
The Make Your Future and the idea that school teams will spend an entire day exploring and planning around issues that are most important to them. I see you have a Common Core workshop. Will standardized testing be part of that? I find the number one area of concern for teachers is how to teach in this time of high-stakes testing.
Thanks for the comments, Tom. Yes, standardized testing (specifically SBAC, since that's the test that will be used in the northwest) will be a part of the Common Core workshop. It won't be a huge emphasis, but is an important part of thinking about new curriculum under Common Core.
Tony Alpert, the COO of Smarter Balanced, will be there to give an overview of the new assessments. He'll also be presenting at the main conference.
Here is a working agenda for this session.
Great conference to get all sides talking. In order to break down the silos, we have to include in our collaborative groups the technician and the media specialist. Often the technician may not have the education background and does not see the value of a tool or resources requested by the teacher. This could result in that tool being blocked and not available for instructional use.
Gail, I couldn't agree more! But sometimes it seems challenging to get everyone to the table (and to discuss the educational reasons for what we are doing -- I would think that everyone in schools would be focused on education, but have seen that this is not always the case).
Any suggestions beyond inviting everyone to the discussion? I think that leadership is key.
I remember way back when science was the forgotten curriculum and it wasn't until it was given a standardized test that it suddenly became important. I know that there are "technology" standardized tests, but I don't think ed tech can be taken completely seriously until it is incorporated in the "important" standardized tests like reading, writing, and especially math and science. If there were a component in any of these tests that necessitated the use of technology (beyond just calculators) to show mastery in these content areas, I'm sure ed tech would be taken more seriously.
Two important groups to include in this conference are: Curriculum Chairs at colleges that teach Educational/Instructional Technology and the Lawyers!
College Chairs should be included so they see what their students need to learn to implement successful integration of technology use into the lesson. Learning curriculum is not enough, it is important to learn how to take a classroom teacher through the steps of placing technology successfully into the lesson so it is seamless.
Lawyers are important. I had spent two years getting teachers to use Scrapblog (now Mixbook) instead of PowerPoint. Teachers, students and their parents loved it. Then Scrapblog became attached to "social media" and was immediately blocked. The Directors and Lawyers are afraid of losing Federal Monies and getting lawsuits. If we can find a way to teach responsible use, and a way to get the filtering reduced, it will be easier to implement educational technology.
I think the big challenge is getting everyone to recognize Technology as a part of education. Generally I have seen people view technology as a "different class" and not something that works with other subjects. The blocking challenge makes it hard to implement some aspects of edtech. Great discussion!
Any great hints on how to meet the "blocked website" technology challenge?
Glen, I wonder if the "blocked website" issue could be handled by the local boards of education. Would it be possible to have a time, say once a month or quarter, where teachers could present blocked sites that could be viewed/reviewed by the governing boards with an explanation by the teacher as to why the site should be allowed. It would certainly open a dialog between the board, IT and the classroom teacher.
Just a thought.
I'm not sure how I missed your (MUCH) earlier reply in this conversation. Based on the work our local board of education faces (about 80,000 students) I'm confident they will not want to be involved in this discussion. There is a VERY strong IT presence in determining which sites are blocked and which are not. The local decision at this point continues to reside with this IT department. Teachers may request sites be unblocked. At this point, no feedback is given on how or why a decision is made about unblocking (or not.) I appreciate your suggestions and how my involvement on technology committees will help change this in the future. (If you want change - get involved yourself is my new mantra.)
I had mentioned earlier that lawyers should be included in any discussion. I would like to add the person that controls the "filters" for the District and the companies that make the filtering software.
Some school districts are afraid of "social networks" so when a website application uses it, the filters will block it. Some web applications (edu.glogster) recognized this and has a separate site that has different tags on it to get it past the regular filters.
I have been using two different options that seem to work, as long as everyone plays by the rules.
Option 1: An understanding person that controls the filters that is willing to listen to requests as to why a site should be open.In special situations, sites will be unblocked for a specific time period.
Option 2: Place into a separate filtered group teachers that have completed an Internet Safety course and other requirements set forth by the Board of Education.
Stacey - New York